TT 36: The Return of Tootie Heath to NYC! (Zinc Bar gigs, and Owl Music Parlor workshop)

(photo by Michael Perez during the Philadelphia Beat session)

This coming weekend, Friday and Saturday, I’m showcasing the legendary Albert “Tootie Heath” at the Zinc Bar. The third member of the “classic trio” is Ben Street, who will join us on Saturday, but on Friday the young brilliant Dylan Reis will sub for Ben (who has an unforeseen conflict).

Tootie, one of the greatest drummers of all time and the man behind the kit of the first leader recordings of both John Coltrane and Nina Simone, has been a little less active lately. We decided to bring him out from Santa Fe and play as a kind of benefit for him; indeed, the bassists and I are giving him all the money from the Zinc gigs.

For about five years Tootie, Ben, and I played together several times a year. Every moment I shared on the bandstand with Tootie was a real honor. Ben and I both learned tremendous amount. Tootie’s DTM interview is good reading, especially for students of the music.

Ralph Peterson had something nice to say about our trio in a recent DB blindfold test:

And my best fan, Guillaume Hazelbrook, transcribed my solo on “Bag’s Groove” from the same disc. (Those are Tootie’s tiny croatales at the top of this excerpt.)

On Sunday, 4 PM, Tootie will be at the Owl Music Parlor in Brooklyn, giving a talk (or kind of workshop?) called “The Wit and Wisdom of Tootie Heath.” Bassist Martin Nevin and I will be on hand to play a few tunes, but I think Albert will mostly be taking questions and riffing. If you’ve never seen Tootie on a hot mic it is worth the trip: He is hilarious and obscene. Quite terrifying, really. All praise Tootie Heath!

TT 35: Solo Tonight, Irving Fine, Johnathan Blake and Marta Sanchez

Tonight at Spectrum Second Annual Modern Piano (+) Festival, Brooklyn, I’m on at 9 pm after Sonya Belaya (7 pm) and Jacob Rhodebeck (8 pm).

Set list of Iverson compositions w quick little descriptions:

I Confess (angular ballad in jazz tempo)
On the Beat (soft rock?!)
Turner’s Chamber of Unlikely Delight (Eicher said this was “like Busoni”)
Simply Business (8 bars of blues)
Imperfect Ritual (cinematic fantasy)
George Walker Ascending (swinging; perhaps like Roland Hanna)
Showdown (melodic ballad)
Perpendicular (blues inspired by Ron Carter)


On DTM: It was Irving Fine’s birthday, so I edited and updated my Centennial post. (This kind of thing is ONLY on Do the Math!)

And, a little review of Johnathan Blake at the Vanguard, plus I wrote the liner notes for Marta Sanchez’s latest.

TT 34: Harold Shapero, more on jazz standards

New DTM overview:

Harold Shapero’s Credo. Credo is one of my favorite pieces ever! And I finally found the score down at the Library of Congress. It made sense to transcribe Credo for piano and do a quick overview of the rest of Shapero.

New guest post by Seattle musician Jacob Zimmerman, Eight American Popular Songs + A Tribute to Alec Wilder. Beautiful stuff about looking at the sheet music.


The Spectrum Second Annual Modern Piano (+) Festival started yesterday and continues through December. Full listing here; I’m playing Friday at 9 pm after Sonya Belaya (7 pm) and Jacob Rhodebeck (8 pm).

The last time I was at Spectrum I heard Rhodebeck perform two movements of Universe by Gerald Humel, a composer born in Cleveland but who spent most of his artistic life in Berlin. I was astounded by both the score and and the performance, and immediately bought the CD recorded by Jeffery Burns. Universe is now added to the major overview of 20th Century notated American piano music, Write it All Down.

That essay has been steadily becoming more accurate and extensive since going online a few months ago; I’m about ready to call it “finished,” although one of the nice things about DTM is how I can keep updating the commentary and fixing typos…

TT 33: Tour with Mark Turner, Tootie Heath returns, and What Are You Doing New Years' Eve?

Headed to the airport! Mr. Mark Turner and I will be playing all over in the next week. If you come to a gig please say hi!



There was a simply lovely review of PEPPERLAND in the Washington Post by Sarah L. Kaufman.


The legendary Tootie Heath is coming back to NYC to reprise the trio we had with Ben Street. On December 13 and 14 we will be playing at the Zinc Bar. This is really a tribute to Tootie, he’s just the greatest and rarely plays in NYC anymore.


I’ll be back at the Zinc for New Year’s Eve celebration. My friend Marcy Harriell have been talking about doing something for a while. She’s a great singer, a total Broadway pro. She’s becoming a breakout star on the fashion circuit, but still wants to sing.

We both love the great songs of Burt Bacharach — who doesn’t? So for NYE Marcy and I putting together a set of his greatest songs, mostly from the Dionne Warwick era, but maybe a few other things as well. The band will be completed by bassist Corcoran Holt and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza, and I’ll be playing some instrumental jazz numbers with the two of them as well.

Sets and 9 and 11 — and, of course, the second set will include a champagne toast at the top of the year. It will be a really fun evening!!!

TT 32: Gravity is out today!

Sarah Deming’s masterpiece is on the shelves! Book release party tonight at Cafe con Libros, where Sarah will be having a conversation with the great boxing analyst Steve Farhood; party to follow at our place. (Sadly I will already be in DC for MMDG Pepperland.)

"Readers will immediately stand in Gravity's corner as she battles distractions and fights against the odds in pursuit of her dreams. A riveting pugilistic must-read." —Kirkus, starred review

“Readers will want ringside seats for this gritty debut title from Christopher Myer’s new Make Me a World imprint.” –Booklist, starred review

“[A] moving, layered tale of a dedicated, dazzling young woman.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Deming pulls no punches in this flawless debut.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Boxing is the real romance here; as with any romance, the reading pleasure lies not in genre surprises but in the way the story brings freshness and joy to the familiar turns.”  —Bulletin 

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